WELTECH investigates how and why European welfare states have reacted and adapted to technological change, which – next to climate change and demographic change – arguably constitutes one of the biggest challenges societies face today. The ambition is to make an original and pathbreaking contribution to the theorisation of welfare state change more generally. Rethinking and going beyond the dominant concepts of institutional path dependence and power resources theory in the welfare state literature, the project does so by placing macroeconomic concerns at the centre of a novel conceptualisation of welfare state reforms. In other words, the project hypothesises that policy makers, in deciding over different reform trajectories, are guided primarily by concerns over how to maintain and further stimulate economic growth. In order to make sense of welfare state change, it is therefore crucial to understand a given country’s specific Growth Model, i.e. the composition of different drivers of economic growth, as well as the social bloc composed key voters and important producer groups that prop up the national growth model. To this end, the project carries out a comparative case study of three countries with distinct welfare regimes as well as growth models, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom over the years 2000-2020. WELTECH conceptualises welfare state reforms in the social investment framework analysing in particular how technological disruption has led to changes in different stock, flow, and buffer policies.
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